Paper prices rise steeply

We’ve just received an email from our stationery supplier notifying us that our contract price for 80gsm paper will be rising between 8%-12% from 1st October, with the prices of other stock going up by even more. This isn’t entirely unexpected, we’ve heard rumblings about the inevitability of sharp price rises all year, but it’s unwelcome nonetheless. The reason for the price hikes, apparently, is a set of unprecedented market conditions: a combination of decreasing volume year-on-year, challenging exchange rates, increased pulp prices and lower selling prices for cut paper across Europe compared with China and the USA mean mills are constricting  supply to Europe, pushing prices up. And it seems our suppliers expect the situation to continue until at least the end of this year.

The result, of course, for any business using paper – and I would guess that means pretty much any business of any size – will be a bigger stationery bill at the end of every month, unless they take steps to mitigate the higher prices. In the immediate short term, the quickest results would come from enouraging staff to value paper more highly – not easy when it’s been seen as such a cheap and disposable commodity for so long – by, for example, setting their printer to duplex (double-sided) printing as default, or by saving/filing their emails into folders for future reference rather than simply printing them out. And, of course, ensuring nobody feels they can take the odd ream home for their own use!

In the medium and long-term you should implement a thorough review of your paper purchasing policy. Are you with the right supplier? Could you use a cheaper brand? Could you buy in larger quantities? And so on. Of course, if you work with an Auditel cost, purchase and supplier management consultant to look after your stationery and business consumables overheads they will already carry out regular reviews and make recommendations to optimise your purchasing as an integral part of their ongoing management service. If not, and you’d like to,  contact your nearest Auditel consultant for more information about this issue.

Could you use a little help to make even more savings?

In conversation with one of our consultants today, he casually mentioned that he’s just realised savings of 56% on stationery and office consumables expenditure for a PLC client. As with many of our larger clients, this was a business cost area they were pretty confident they had under control but agreed to let our chap have a look at anyway. After all, his detailed audit, analysis, tendering of the market and recommendations report wouldn’t cost them a penny upfront so they had nothing to lose.

Needless to say they’re very impressed and looking forward to more savings in other business cost areas also under review.